Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions

An anonymous commenter recently stated that they had communicated with the disability examiner who was working on their case and that the examiner had advised that they were done with the physical part of the claim and were now working on the mental part of the claim. The commenter stated "if they had found me disabled physically then why would they waste time and money on the mental? I feel sure I am about to be denied".

My response: Anonymous, I would not worry about this too much. The disability examiner is obligated to pursue development on your case for both a mental disability as well as physical impairments. This is because they have no way of knowing whether or not you will be found to be disabled for either impairment. And even if you were considered to be disabled on the basis of BOTH your physical and mental impairments, it might be that the medical evidence for one or both impairments might support an earlier onset date that would provide for more back pay.

For example, let's pretend that your medical evidence for your physical condition meets the definition of disability and that you could expect to be approved on the basis of this alone. How far back you will be awarded disability benefits will depend on the available evidence for your physical condition.

Let's further speculate that your mental condition likewise meets the definition of disability. Well, if the medical evidence for the mental condition supports an even earlier onset date (when your condition is considered to have become disabling in the way that the social security administration considers a person to be disabled), then it would definitely be to your advantage to have the mental aspect of your case evaluated because the further back the onset date is, the more you can receive in disability back pay.

Additionally, if your case is for title II social security disability benefits (versus title 16 SSI disability benefits), then having the earliest possible onset date for your claim can make a real difference as to when your eligibility for medicare benefits will begin.

In summation, it is completely to your advantage for the disability examiner to fully develop (another way of saying consider all the evidence) both the physical and mental aspects of your claim. This is for two reasons:

1. You may be found disabled for one type of impairment but not the other.

2. Even if you are found to be disabled for both the mental and physical aspects of your case, it may be that one of your impairments (mental or physical) has medical evidence that allows for an earlier and more advantageous onset date. And, as we've said, this can have an impact on how much back pay benefits you may receive as well as on how soon you can receive your medicare benefits (assuming you file for social security disability--SSI applicants are not eligible for medicare but can receive medicaid instead).

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?
Will Your Claim for Disability be Handled Differently if it is Based on a Physical or Mental Problem?
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders
When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Are SSI and Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, and Functional Limitations
Can you draw Social Security Disability on a spouse's Social Security earnings record?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria